FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
As the United States celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, I join President Obama in reaffirming our commitment to the fundamental rights of LGBT people everywhere.
The Obama Administration has taken active steps to honor this commitment, starting in the federal workforce. Last summer, the President extended benefits to same-sex domestic partners of U.S. Government federal employees. I am pleased that Secretary Clinton’s extension of benefits for overseas State Department employees has served as a model for similar changes on behalf of American LGBT staff of the UN Secretariat. Thanks to this work, the partners and families of many hard-working Americans serving abroad may now receive the benefits, training, and allowances that are increasingly the standard for world-class international civil servants. I am very proud of the contributions of LGBT employees in the foreign affairs agencies of the U.S. Government, and am pleased to see that these actions will support them as they continue their good work.
The LGBT community still faces hostility in many parts of the world. In some nations, sexual orientation is considered a crime, and punished with unspeakable violence and humiliation. Public pride is sometimes met with brutal, state-sanctioned beatings and arrests. Members of organizations fighting to advance LGBT rights often do so at considerable risk to their safety and their livelihoods.
Here at the United Nations, the Obama Administration last year supported a historic General Assembly declaration condemning human rights violations based on sexual orientation. The United States Mission to the UN is, among other efforts, working to reverse an attempt by some members of the NGO Committee of the Economic and Social Council to deny UN consultative status to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, an organization whose widely respected advocacy and research has given a voice to those who have long suffered in silence.
As LGBT Pride Month comes to a close, I am proud to join in heralding the invaluable contributions of the LGBT community to communities and countries the world over, and our unwavering commitment to the rights of all people.
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